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Staff Picks: Staff Picks - Christmas 2020

Staff Picks

Each Library staff member has chosen five recommendations, with a note explaining each pick.

The picks can be accessed both online from your living room or via the Library (for AFTRS staff and student only).

We have also mixed it up and have picks from all over the internet, including podcasts, games, websites, as well as traditional films and television series.

Staff picks have taken a Christmas theme ready for the most joyful time of the year.

Raquel Caballero - User Experience Librarian

A Charlie Brown Christmas (Dir. Bill Melendez, 1965)

The perfect Christmas morning cartoon for when you’re nursing a hangover from too much eggnog on Christmas eve. So sweet and touching. You’ll probably get a bit teary if you’re already feeling a bit fragile.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (Dir. Paul Reubens, Wayne Orr, 1988)

Pee Wee’s Playhouse was always OTT so you can imagine how wild the Christmas Special is.

Just to mention a few celebrity special guests to whet your appetite: Whoopi Goldberg! K.D. Lang!! Joan Rivers!!! Grace Jones!!!! Little Richard!!!!  Camp Christmas at it’s finest

Batman Returns (Dir. Tim Burton, 1992)

My fave Batman movie of all time (and not just because Paul Reubens makes a cameo).

It’s a holiday favourite for so many reasons: Max Shreck’s (Christopher Walken) Christmas tree-lighting speech (which I know off my heart)… Danny Devito as super slimy Penguin… Michelle Pfeiffer as Selena Kyle/Catwoman (so hot!)… Danny Elfman’s score. I could go on.

Don’t  tell me you’ve never seen it – I’ll scream!

A Christmas Story (Dir. Bob Clark, 1983)

This is a weird one that no-one I talk to seems to have ever heard of, but it’s a real American Christmas classic.

The main kid has one of those adult voice-overs for his internal thoughts, a-la The Wonder Years or Look Who’s Talking, which is always a bit disturbing.

And there’s a frozen tongue scene that will forever haunt me. Don’t even get me started on the sexy leg lamp. Oddball is putting it mildly.

Metropolitan (Dir. Whit Stillman, 1990)

To say I have a soft spot for this film is not doing my deep love for it justice.

But I can’t quite express the wonderful feeling it gives me.

It’s a funny, smart, romantic coming-of-age movie about a group of wealthy young debs living in Manhattan, circa late 80s.

If (like me) you love dialogue-driven films, this ones for you.

Bad Santa (Dir. Terry Zwigoff, 2003)

A Christmas movie to bring the house down, from the director of Ghost World, no less!

Billy Bob plays the seediest Santa ever committed to celluloid and he deserves a standing ovation for his portrayal.

It’s one of those bah humbug Christmas classics that never get old – right up there with Scrooged, and A Muppets Christmas Carol.

You will die with laughter or I will kill you.

Frazer Bull-Clark - Collection Development Librarian

Eyes Wide Shut (dir: Stanley Kubrick, 1999)

I didn’t like this film the first time I saw it, but having revisited it I’ve come to love it and I always see new things in it.

There must be dozens of Christmas trees in this film. It almost feels like there’s one in the background of every scene, which all seems part of the unique dream world it creates.

Home Alone (dir: Chris Columbus, 1990)

What can I say, it’s an all-time classic. If you don’t laugh at Joe Pesci hurting himself or feel moved by the ending, then there’s no hope for you.

Tangerine (dir: Sean Baker, 2015)

A comedy-drama that follows two transgender sex workers on the streets of Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, Tangerine is a wonderful ode to friendship.

Famously shot on an iPhone, it’s also a great example of a micro-budget independent film where the aesthetic approach perfectly complements and supports the storytelling.

Black Christmas (dir: Bob Clark, 1974)

A super creepy and effective Christmas-set horror movie. Inspired performances and creative filmmaking really elevate this!

Released a full four years before the original Halloween, its influence on the horror genre is vast and fascinating.

The Office - Christmas Specials

If anyone said to me that this was the best ending to a TV series ever, or even just the best series ever, I wouldn’t correct them.

Candis Diaz - Curriculum Liaison Librarian (Wed - Fri)

Die Hard (1998) Dir: John McTiernan

A childhood favourite Die Hard is your cheesy 90s action flick!

The Nakatomi Plaza Office Christmas Party gets more than it bargained for when German terrorist attack, its up to John McClane to save the day (or you know get on the good side of his wife).

I mean he spends most of the time talking to himself, not very stealth but makes for some good lines.   

Die Hard 2 (1990) Dir: Renny Harlin

It has happened again!

John McClane is just not meant to have a good Christmas!

Rogue military operatives take over the International Airport in Washington DC, and John McClane must save the day again….

Bit weird that no one else noticed the suss Christmas box exchange at the beginning of the movie.

Like if your weapons are stashed in Christmas boxes why kick them under the table?

Why not just say “Hey man, here’s your gift!”.

Apart from *eyeroll* moments, Die Hard 2 does not disappoint.

The Knight before Christmas (2019) Dir: Monika Mitchell

Think Kate and Leopold but a Christmas flick.

A medieval knight is transported into present day where he falls in love with a high school teacher.

Its overall a feel good, have a nap to Christmas vibe.

Prometheus (2012) Dir: Ridley Scott

Set in the same universe as Alien, Prometheus is not so much a Christmas movie, but shows that the Christmas spirit can be kept alive even amongst Alien foetuses and rogue existential androids. 

Last Christmas (2019) Dir: Paul Feig

Working as an elf in central London, Katarina is plagued by apathy after dealing with some serious personal issues.

But thanks to the Christmas spirit she meets Tom, who is about to change her life forever… or make her wonder if she has more issues before to be honest.

Jessica Anscombe - Curriculum Liaison Library (Mon & Thur)

A Moody Christmas

A hilariously relatable family Christmas.

Bluey Christmas Episode

The show that saved all parents during Covid has released another cracking Christmas special.

A Sunburnt Christmas

Forget white Christmases. A festive comedy set in the Australian outback is just the ticket this year.  

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Dir: Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989)

The perfectly hysterical Christmas where nothing ever goes right. Always a lot of fun.

Hayley Brown - Library Supervisor

Office Christmas Party (Dir: Josh Gordon & Will Speck, 2016)

One of my top five favorite Christmas movies.

Who knew an office Christmas party could be so wild?

Iron Man 3 (Dir: Shane Black, 2013)

While not the best Iron Man film in the MCU, it is one at Christmas, need I say more?

It's a Wonderful Life (Dir: Frank Capra, 1946)

This is my ALL time favorite Christmas movie, I watch it every year.

While the black and white version is amazing, I do recommend trying out the colour version.

Mixed Nuts (Dir: Nora Ephron, 1994)

A stellar cast and a quirky Christmas story with a romantic twist.

Sit back and enjoy!

Laura Daaboul - Resource Access Librarian

Cathie Walker - Information Officer

It's a Wonderful Life (Dir: Frank Capra, 1946)

Just before the craziness of Christmas Day begins.  Armed with an eggnog or two this movie warms the heart and makes you just feel dam good. 

Who doesn’t love a good cry.

The Polar Express (Dir: Robert Zemeckis, 2004)

There is something a little strange about this movie and not in a bad way. 

I didn’t know what to expect from this film, but once I watched it I was hooked. 

Its now one of my top Christmas movies

Love Actually (Dir: Richard Curtis, 2003)

This is Christmas !!!!!

This is a romantic comedy that isn’t a romantic comedy. 

Even thous that dislike romantic comedy would have to enjoy singing  along to Love is All Around.